The party starts in five minutes, but your hair still looks like you're headed for yoga class. Yep, it's time for some ponytail magic! Just as heels dress up a casual outfit, a hair wrapped ponytail dresses up a casual ponytail. The simple act of wrapping hair around the base of the ponytail makes this hairstyle look polished. The best part? Even women who missed out on the hairstyling gene (or who haven't devoted half their lives to watching YouTube beauty tutorials) can manage this quick and easy trick.
Prepping the pony
Sorry, ladies, it doesn't matter how cute the hair-wrapped base of a ponytail is if the rest of the pony is a mess. Get that ponytail perfect before even thinking about wrapping it!
First, find a hair elastic that matches the hair color. If any of the elastic peeks through the wrap, it won't be obvious as long as the elastic is camouflaged. Make sure it's the right size to hold the ponytail securely. If it's too small to go around the ponytail three times but feels loose with two twists, for example, the hairstyle won't work.
Once the ponytail is done, using styling tools and products may ruin the look. The secret is to style the hair first, whether that means creating ringlets with a curling iron, flat-ironing it straight, or working in an anti-frizz product.
It doesn't matter what length the hair is—any type of ponytail works with this technique! Make a low pony and pull some tendrils loose at the front for a romantic, relaxed look, or use a paddle brush and gel to create a perfectly smooth high ponytail. Do you.
Wrapping the hair
Once the ponytail is secure, grab a small section of hair from the underside. How big the section needs to be depends on the thickness of your hair. Aim for a section that makes up no more than about 20 percent of the ponytail. If hair is already fine, taking too much for the wrap leaves the ponytail looking feeble.
Rub the section of hair between your fingers to flatten it out a bit. That will help get maximum coverage of the elastic. Tightly wrap the section of hair around the elastic, leaving a one- to two-inch tail unwrapped at the underside of the elastic. Hold the tail with one hand and use the other hand to gently pull down the elastic to create an opening. Push the tail through and release the elastic.
Locking the wrap in place
Pushing the tail of the wrapped section through the elastic may not be enough to keep the hair in place, especially if it's slippery. If the hair wrap doesn't seem secure, grab a bobby pin that matches your hair color. Bend it so it's slightly open and slide it through the elastic so it's holding the tail section in place. If that still doesn't work, release the hair wrap and start it again.
A clear hair elastic can also help hold the hair wrap in place. Carefully slide the elastic over the place where the end of the hair-wrapped section meets the top of the ponytail. Adjust the underside so the clear elastic is holding the tail in place.
Once everything looks right and feels secure, spray all sides of the hair-wrapped section with non-aerosol hairspray. Concerned about the chemicals in hairspray? Try making a homemade batch using alcohol for hold and essential oils or lemons for a lighter and brighter smell!
Just like that, you're done. You can take that polished ponytail to yoga class, on a run, or hit the town with your girlfriends and a cute outfit to pull-together the whole ensemble.
Kathryn Walsh has been writing about health, wellness and beauty for nearly 10 years. Her work has appeared on sites including USAToday.com, Mamapedia and Livestrong.com.